PGP: preferred gender pronoun.
I personally find this relatively new acronym quite conflicting because to use “prefer” to me indicates my chosen pronoun is not valid. There’s a sense of inferiority to my truth against the binary norm that society gave us without consent.
My pronouns are they/them.
It is not preferred, they are my pronouns and I hope everyone reading this can do their best to respect that-- especially those who have known me prior to my recent identity revelation as a non-binary trans femme being.
I know the use of pronouns outside the binary is new to many… all of us, really. So I understand that it’ll take time for the world to adapt and it may not happen within my lifetime. But that’s ok, because the conversation needs to begin at some point, right? Which it has, thankfully to every existing beautiful trans, non-binary, genderqueer and nonconforming being.
During the budding stages of my blossoming gender identity, I wasn’t as finicky with my pronouns. But now, once I hear myself being misgendered, it makes my skin crawl and induces so much anxiety. All I want to do is crawl away and find a corner hideaway far from all human interaction. It always felt strange to be referred to as a son, brother, uncle, him, he, sir. I went along with it because that was all I knew at the time as an ex-cis, gaysian male. Female pronouns don't quite sit well either, but it doesn't induce anxiety as male pronouns. Sis, girl, girlfriend, queen and all queer terms of endearment are totally fine.
I’ve just recently started having more serious conversations in regards to my gender pronouns with the beloved ones in my life, since my passive Instagram captions were not clear enough for some. B- for effort, I suppose. The initial approach to this conversation was daunting for me, but for the most part everyone has been very understanding, well, trying to understand. Many people aren’t aware of the gender spectrum and assume that because I’m trans, I’m transitioning to the opposite binary from my gender assigned at birth. So this conversation is always inclusive of the fact that this world isn’t just a “he” or “her.” There is a “they,” an in-between, and outlier too.
It fires me up when I hear and see the media misgender trans people as their dead name or gender. It only mocks, discourages and disrespects our existence to the masses. Like, why? There’s no benefit to such pettiness and only enforces the toxic social construct of gender.
One of the practices I learned while volunteering for the Ali Forney Center is asking everyone their gender pronouns upon meeting them. It’s something I take everywhere with me in my everyday life, even if I know the person I’m meeting is blatantly cis-gender. It may be weird to them, but I think it’s important people are exposed to this practice because it creates awareness, could strike up a conversation, lead to a Google search, and then possibly to an education. Even if they don’t agree, because they most likely will talk about it to their friends, further spreading awareness of our existence.
So we just have to keep the conversation going as the change happens with us.
They... we are real, and so are our pronouns.
Photography by Sun Choi
Text edited by Trace Otsuka